Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi – football’s greatest debate. Over the past two installments of this series, we looked at their firsts and their titles, now we look back at the records these two have amassed. Some of them speak to their sheer goal-scoring prowess. Some of them speak to their longevity and consistency. All of them speak to their awesomeness.
Most league goals in Europe’s top five leagues
Cristiano Ronaldo – 440
Lionel Messi is just two goals behind on 438 [at an absurd 0.92 goals per game]. To put that into perspective — if they were to both not score a league goal again, Harry Kane could score thirty goals a season for the next ten years and he would still fall four short of Ronaldo’s record. FOUR.
Most goals in a single season in Europe’s top five leagues (all comps)
Messi – 73 (in 2011-12)
Ronaldo hit 61 in 2014-15
Three players shared the Premier golden boot last season. You could add up tallies of Sadio Mane, Mohammad Salah, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and still come 7 short of Messi’s record tally. SEVEN.
Most (league) goals in a single season in Europe’s Top five Leagues (post-1945)
Messi – 50 (in 2011-12)
Ronaldo – 48 (2014-15)
Only one other player (Josip Skoblar for Marseille in 1970-71) has ever passed the 40-goal mark in Europe’s top five leagues since the end of WW II. Messi has done it THREE TIMES, Ronaldo TWICE.
50 goals-a-season for the most number of consecutive seasons
Ronaldo – 6
Messi – 3 (Six seasons in total)
Only FOUR others in the history of Europe’s top five leagues have finished seasons with 50 goals or more — Dixie Dean (one season at Everton), Isidro Langara (at Real Oviedo), Luis Suarez (one season at Barcelona) and the incredible Gerd Muller (5 consecutive seasons at Bayern Munich).
Most goals scored (club and country) in a calendar year
Lionel Messi – 91 (in 2011)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s closest effort saw him hit 69 in 2012
Ronaldo, though, does hold the record for most goals scored in internationals over a calendar year – 32 (Messi – 25).
Most Champions League goals
Ronaldo – 128 (he also has the most assists, with 39)
Messi is second with 114 (second on the assists chart too)
Just so we understand how big Ronaldo’s tally is, only TWO people have scored more goals in total [Messi and Raul (71)] than he has scored knockout stage goals (65).
Heck, Ronaldo and Messi have also each scored more goals than Ruud Van Nistelrooy (56) and Thierry Henry (50) combined. [Or if you’d prefer — more than Didier Drogba (44), Neymar (35), and Wayne Rooney (30) combined.
Most UCL goals in a season
Ronaldo – 17 (in 2013-14). He is also 2nd with 16, and 3rd with 15.
Messi – 14 (in 2011-12)
Ronaldo is also a record seven-time winner of the CL golden boot (6 consecutively) and is also the only player to score in 11 straight UEFA Champions League games.
Most Ballon d’Or wins
Messi – 6 (He also holds the record for longest gap between Ballon d’Or wins, his sixth came a decade after his first)
Ronaldo – 5
No one else has more than three (Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, and Marco van Basten)
Most European Golden Shoe awards
Messi – 6
Ronaldo – 4
No one else has more than 2.
Most hattricks (current, for club and country)
Ronaldo – 56
Messi is second on the list with 52
Messi’s tally includes a La Liga record 36 hattricks. For context, the Premier League record, held by Sergio Aguero, is 12.
Most Champions League hattricks
Shared between Messi and Ronaldo – 8
That is more than ANY CLUB has aside from Real Madrid (13) and Barcelona (11). The two players have also scored more CL hattricks than Dennis Bergkamp and Alan Shearer have scored CL goals (7 each).
Records for fun
- Ronaldo has scored the most international goals by a European (99). He is just 10 behind Ali Daei’s world record. 47 of those 99 goals have come after he turned 30. That is, Ronaldo has scored more international goals as a thirty-plus-year old than Sergio Aguero has in his entire career.
- Ronaldo holds the record for most number of national teams scored against (41).
- Ronaldo is the first player to score in ten consecutive international tournaments (4 Euros, 4 World Cups, 2 Confederations Cups).
- Messi is the only player to score more than 40 goals in 10 consecutive seasons.
- Ronaldo is the only player to score for two different winning teams in a European Cup final (Manchester United, and Real Madrid).
- Messi holds the all-time La Liga scoring record with 438 goals. Ronaldo is second with 311 (scored at a barely believable 1.07 goals per game).
- Ronaldo is the only player to score ten goals against a single Champions League opponent. Who is that opponent? Juventus. No wonder they broke the bank for him, eh?
- Messi is the only footballer to have scored consecutively against all teams in a professional league (19 games, 30 goals in 2011-12).
- Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are the only players to have scored in every minute of an official football game.
- Ronaldo is the first player to win the top division title in England, Spain, and Italy.
- Messi and Ronaldo share the record for most appearances in FIFPro’s World XI (13).